Class started today as a recap of yesterday, in case we missed the details of Richard Allen. We gradually transitioned into learning about our capstone project. Each student has to pick a social justice topic and raise a question, then take a side and argue for it as well as try solving the issue. I’m still having trouble deciding what I’m going to do for it. I want to do something related to domestic and dating violence but don’t know how to incorporate it as a social justice question. I tried reaching out to some of my resources back home but never received an answer. The topic and thesis is due by Friday, tomorrow, and it’s stressing me out.
Since a great amount of us do not know where to look for information on a topic, our professor and TA’s took us all to one of PENN’s many libraries. We were given an hour presentation about how to search things through the PENN database in order to find legit sources to help with our research. If we ever need help it’s always fine to ask a librarian or email someone in that specializes in the area of what we’re researching. It was pretty amazing on how their system has so many books and articles to look at or search from and their database makes things so much easier to do so.
|Walkthrough of Chris Rabb's Presentation|
When the presentation had ended and we were about to break for lunch, Diamond, one of the TA’’s, took some of us on a tour of the library. The building was huge and had so many different floors and wings to go to. She had shown us spots where we could come and study to get away from the dorms or to even work in groups with friends. There were so many areas or desks where we could work, some even has MacBooks connected to them so we can research using that if we don’t have our own laptops. We took an elevator to the fourth floor. Diamond had shown us the many collections of books that the library has. Peering down the halls made it seem endless. She taught us how to move the shelves if we wanted to look into a specific section. She had recommended to be careful about using some of their books because they can be far outdated or are close to falling apart, so asking for help is always a good option.
Coming back from lunch, we were introduced to a guest speaker. He is a politician and represents the 9, 22, and 50 wards of Philadelphia, which is the highest voting percentage in the city. He used to attend UPENN and is a genealogist. He’s forty-six years old and wrote the book “Invisible Capital.” His name is Chris Rabb. Chris came to talk to us about what social impact is and it pertains to us and our lives. He told us his story of becoming elected for a representative for Philadelphia and his ancestry. When people first found out that he was running, they were infuriated just because he was taking the chance. He was running against the system and the political machine. Chris never trash talked another opponent or even have a lot of money throughout his campaign. He chose to be different and genuine which stands out the most. He gave faith within the people since they have a right too. A lot of the times the ward leaders would choose who would be the democratic nominee instead of allowing the people. Chris had won the election based on those odds. He wanted to serve because he believed social justice and would be a better influence on the people in politics. The people grew tired of their votes being taken for granted and chose someone who had the same values as them.
Value can go a long way; it helps define who and what you are such as our ancestry and heritage. Chris’s ancestry had done horrible things, such as rape, back to his 16th grandfather’s time. He said this is not something he is proud of and it really sucks, but it only makes up what he is, not who he is. Just because his ancestry had some faults in them, it does not mean he agrees with what they believe in. Him being different, along with the choices and values that he has, makes up who he is and what he represents. We have to define what value means to us and the words we use because they may be completely different from someone else’s. Everyone has choices in the world and it makes a huge impact on ourselves as well as society.
Everything in our everyday lives has a social impact somewhere. It can impact all of our public education, health, safety, art, and infrastructure without even realizing it. If none of us were to get vaccines, imagine how disease could overwhelm and kill off people. These are examples of choices that we decide to make that influences our society. Our knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have the more privileged it makes you. If we use our privilege to our advantage, we can use it to help others achieve it too. Listening to Chris present was the highlight of my day. He’s incorporated humor along with a lesson in which is hard to do. He opened my eyes up to seeing things in a different perspective or reasoning that I haven’t considered before. I never realized the things we do in our everyday lives could cause a chain reaction within our society. He is the aspiration of today and has encouraged strong motivation within myself to continue striving for what I believe in and my goals.
In our discussion group later on, we had discussed how we felt about Chris’s presentation as well as religion, race, and ethnicity. Our group leader, Yun, had shown us how race plays in a role of test taking as well as how we view ourselves and how others view us. These statistics had shown that black people had done better on test scores when they weren’t told that it would have an effect because of their race. A group of white people had done better on the test scores when told that race had an effect to its outcome. It was interesting to view because I would never have thought that knowing something so small can bring such a different outcome.
|Dean of Admissions, Eric J. Furda|